On November 19, the world celebrated World Toilet Day, but the call for proper sanitation does not stop there.
Closing its monthlong celebration of World Toilet Day, Manila Water Foundation, Inc., in partnership with Laguna Water, recently gathered over 150 community members at Malaban Elementary School and turned over a three-cubicle public toilet at Barangay Malaban in Biñan City, Laguna, aiming to promote proper sewage management and sanitation practices for its nearby communities. The event promoted the importance of safely managed sanitation in the country, especially for marginalized sectors.
Highlights of the event involved the TSEK ng Bayan lecture, a talk on the sewage treatment process and its importance to our health and environment, led by Laguna Water, and distribution of sanitation kits from corporate partners, including Gleam and Albatross products from Philusa Corporation, Orocan pails and dippers, consultation vouchers from FamilyDOC, drinking water from Health Family, and medicine from Generika Drugstore.
According to UNICEF, as of 2015, six percent of Filipinos still do not have access to proper sanitary toilets. With this in mind, organizations across the globe join together to observe the World Toilet Day every November 19, initiating a discourse on the global sanitation crisis.
One of the core advocacies of Manila Water Foundation is proper sanitation for all, which aligns to the purpose of the World Toilet Day. “Manila Water Foundation is advancing its core advocacy of WASH or Water Access, Sanitation and Hygiene. For the sanitation component, we focus our initiatives on eliminating open defecation especially in the marginalized communities who should have access to safely-managed toilets,” said Reginald Andal, MWF Executive Director. “We want to raise an extensive awareness and move to sustainable action through the World Toilet Day as improper sanitation will have an adverse effect to us, our future generations and the environment,” he added.
Barangay Chair Dennis Salandanan expressed his gratitude for granting the facility in their barangay. “Ang aming health center, araw-araw po ay puno. (Our health center is full of people daily),” he said. “Malaking tulong po talaga ang binigay na facility na ito sa aming barangay. Sana po hiling ko lang po tuluy-tuloy lang po ang programa niyo. Laking pasalamat ko po sa Laguna Water na [binabahagi] ‘yung blessings nila dito sa atin. Hindi lang profit sila, nagbibigay din sila ng malasakit sa community,” he said during his opening speech.
Beyond the celebration of World Toilet Day
After the event, community members also visited Laguna Technopark Inc. - Sewage and Septage Treatment Plant (LTI SSTP), operated and maintained by Laguna Water. Laguna Water is the first company to utilize Organica’s Food Chain Reactor (FCR) technology in the Philippines, which is a beautiful, odor-free, botanical-garden used water treatment plant that employs more than 3,000 species of aerobic bacteria that thrive on plant roots and engineered patented biofiber media. In 2018, Laguna Water also officially launched its desludging services. Through this service, the company’s desludging truck periodically siphons 2/3 of its customers’ septic tank. The collected waste, known as septage, will be treated at the company-managed Sewage and Septage Treatment Plant in LTI.
Manila Water Foundation also provides sanitation interventions to different communities all year round. On November 19, in line with the actual World Toilet Day celebration, MWF launched the Sanitation Phase of its Integrated WASH Program in Sitio Monicayo at Barangay Calumpang, Mabalacat City, Pampanga, granting individual toilets with septic tanks to 45 toilet-less households. Under its Ahon Sanitasyon program, an infrastructure program that provides stand-along sanitation interventions to communities, MWF will be constructing public toilets at select barangays at Malay, Aklan, Rosario, Cavite, and Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.